ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.

ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Postby Thomas Alberti » October 31st, 2013, 1:24 pm

Hi :)

I am studying Matthew, and came to 11:6:

και μακαριος εστιν ος εαν μη σκανδαλισθη εν εμοι

This is my first time seeing εν used to mean cause. I am trying to learn more about this usage, and more generally, how to search for grammatical patterns/structures/uses of meaning. I know how to search for morphological codes and specific English translations from a Greek word (e.g. εν translated to "because," but that search is too specific--I want to make sure there are not other structures with εν that mean "because" yet do not use the word "because; or εν translated to NOT "in" AND NOT "with," etc. etc., but that search is too broad--there are over 2000 uses of εν ), but I do not know how to search for... I don't know what they are called (which is part of my problem)--"clausal structures"?

I have an intermediate NT Greek grammar (Daniel B. Wallace) and he says εν can be used:

b. With Dative
• Spatial: on, upon, against, at, near
• Temporal: at, at the time of, during
• Cause: on the basis of
(Wallace, Daniel B. (2009-05-18). The Basics of New Testament Syntax: An Intermediate Greek Grammar (Kindle Locations 3545-3546). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)



How can I search for or learn more about εν used in that third way (so that I can accurately understand what Jesus meant by "stumbled/offended εν me"--why did He use εν instead of some other structure of "because"? Which translation is most accurate--"in," "on account of," or "because"?)?

26:33 is another use, but it's so similar that it's not as helpful as a different context would be. Moreover, I am trying to figure out if stumble/offense is the only idea used with εν/because.

(26:33 αποκριθεις δε ο πετρος ειπεν αυτω ει παντες σκανδαλισθησονται εν σοι εγω [δε] ουδεποτε σκανδαλισθησομαι)

Thank you so much :)

Sincerely,
Tom

ps I am not a student, not a pastor, haven't taken Greek courses--this is just my daily reading--but am willing to do what it takes to understand this. Thanks again.
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Re: ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » October 31st, 2013, 2:51 pm

Thomas Alberti wrote:How can I search for or learn more about εν used in that third way (so that I can accurately understand what Jesus meant by "stumbled/offended εν me"--why did He use εν instead of some other structure of "because"? Which translation is most accurate--"in," "on account of," or "because"?)?


I believe it's better to understand the whole phrase as metaphorical extension of a physical meaning. If you walk to a trap and fall down, do you stumble because of the trap... or something else? Isn't the most natural, neutral expression "stumble upon" or something like that in English? If you want to say that you stumbled because of something, you say it explicitly and don't use upon. I think it's similar with Greek. And I don't believe you'll find any gold nugget in this Greek expression any more than in any good English translation.
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Re: ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 31st, 2013, 3:33 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Thomas Alberti wrote:How can I search for or learn more about εν used in that third way (so that I can accurately understand what Jesus meant by "stumbled/offended εν me"--why did He use εν instead of some other structure of "because"? Which translation is most accurate--"in," "on account of," or "because"?)?


I believe it's better to understand the whole phrase as metaphorical extension of a physical meaning. If you walk to a trap and fall down, do you stumble because of the trap... or something else? Isn't the most natural, neutral expression "stumble upon" or something like that in English? If you want to say that you stumbled because of something, you say it explicitly and don't use upon. I think it's similar with Greek. And I don't believe you'll find any gold nugget in this Greek expression any more than in any good English translation.


Two good ways to search for something like this:

1. You are trying to understand the case for an object of a verb, so look up the verb in BDAG. In this case, you will find the construction σκανδαλίζεσθαι ἔν τινι (dative), where the dative indicates the person who causes the offense - "I was offended by him", and the construction σκανδαλίζω τινά (accusative) someone - "he offended me". Note that both English and Greek change the case of the offender depending on whether the verb is active or passive.

2. Look up the passage in one of the old technical commentaries like ICC or Meyer, see the wishlists for biblicalhumanities.org, or look at the classic commentaries in any software package you have available to you (you indicate you can do syntactic searches, that implies you may have access to such software).

Both BDAG and Meyer offer these examples of the same construction you noticed using the same word:

Matthew 13:57 wrote:καὶ ἐσκανδαλίζοντο ἐν αὐτῷ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Οὐκ ἔστιν προφήτης ἄτιμος εἰ μὴ ἐν τῇ πατρίδι καὶ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ.


Matthew 26 wrote:31 Τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Πάντες ὑμεῖς σκανδαλισθήσεσθε ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταύτῃ, γέγραπται γάρ· Πατάξω τὸν ποιμένα, καὶ διασκορπισθήσονται τὰ πρόβατα τῆς ποίμνης· 32 μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐγερθῆναί με προάξω ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. 33 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Εἰ πάντες σκανδαλισθήσονται ἐν σοί, ἐγὼ οὐδέποτε σκανδαλισθήσομαι.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Postby Thomas Alberti » September 9th, 2014, 3:23 pm

Thank you so much, Eli and Jonahtan! The responses are very helpful. Sorry the massively belated response.

Tom
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Re: ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Postby Thomas Alberti » September 9th, 2014, 3:23 pm

Thank you so much, Eli and Jonahtan! The responses are very helpful. Sorry the massively belated response.

Tom
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Re: ἐν + dative meaning "because"

Postby David Lim » December 16th, 2014, 4:43 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:In this case, you will find the construction σκανδαλίζεσθαι ἔν τινι (dative), where the dative indicates the person who causes the offense - "I was offended by him", and the construction σκανδαλίζω τινά (accusative) someone - "he offended me". Note that both English and Greek change the case of the offender depending on whether the verb is active or passive.

Sorry to bring this post from so long ago, but I thought of clarifying this a little. I think there is a difference between "PV εν τινι" and "PV υπο τινος", where "PV" stands for a passive verb. The former means that that "τις" was an indirect agent such as in "was hit by the stone" (the stone didn't actually do the hitting), whereas the latter means that he was a direct agent such as in "was hit by the man" (the man actually did the hitting, possibly using a stone). Also, your phrase "σκανδαλιζω τινα" means "I stumble someone" not "someone stumbled me".
δαυιδ λιμ
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